There are a number of different ways in which customers goods can be protected when in the control of removers and storers but the nature of each contract needs to be checked as a false impression can very easily be created.
The glib statement that any company is “Fully Insured” is wrong and should never be trusted. No company is fully insured as insurance policies will always contain exclusions and normally carry a policy excess. Further, most companies arrange insurance to protect themselves and not their customers. Therefore, it is vital to check the nature of the contract provided by a removal and storage company which will determine the liabilities that they accept and details of protection that they offer.
Just because your effects are lost or damaged when in the hands of a removal or storage company does not mean that the company has to compensate you. Legally, only if negligence applies does a company have to compensate its customer so for example storm or flood damage, theft from secured vehicles or premises or road accidents caused by third parties could leave your effects damaged or lost through no fault of the removal and storage company.
Further, most reputable companies will modify the legal liability with the use of contract conditions. It is fair and reasonable for removal and storage companies to do this as they are not aware of the value of the effects they move, the special nature of unusual items or the contents or quality of owner packed items.
A removal or storage company needs to tell you in their paperwork the liability they accept and the protection they can offer. A good company will always use terms and conditions of contract although if these just restrict liability you need to check that separate insurance is provided but bear in mind that some conditions can provide wider rather than restricted liability.
Contract conditions extending a company’s liability will include a clause indicating that the chosen remover has a liability to deliver goods back to you in the same condition as handed to them. In other words, even if the damage or loss is not their fault they will still offer appropriate compensation. This is normally called “Standard Liability” within the terms and conditions. Restrictions still apply so the contract needs to be checked and the removal or storage company will arrange insurance for their benefit to help meet their contractual obligation when things go wrong.
Many contract conditions will only modify or reduce the liability of a company but if they offer to extend insurance for your benefit this gives wide protection. In such cases the removal or storage company will provide you with a summary of the insurance cover available or for overseas shipments a certificate of insurance with your name on it. This then provides you with a separate insurance document for you to check and make sure that you are familiar with the terms. With the comfort of such a document, which will name the insurers, you need not be concerned about the restrictions relating to liability for loss or damage in the removal and storage company’s conditions.
Bear in mind that paying for Insurance protection or for “Standard Liability” or equivalent may cost more but it is a better quality of service and gives peace of mind that other options do not.
Selecting a removal and storage company that is a member of a reputable trade association is a quick way of ensuring that you will be offered the right package. Members of the British Association of Removers have to meet high quality and insurance standards.